When you are ready to get your plan in place there are several questions to ask yourself regarding your estate plan before you meet with your Estate Planning Attorney. Preparing a well-drafted plan will save your family and loved ones from trying to determine your wishes. Here are a few questions to ask yourself regarding estate planning.
Who Will Take Care of Your Children?
If you are a parent, one primary concern is deciding who will care for your children in the event of your death. No parent wants to consider this scenario but planning for this will prevent future disputes and make sure your children are with an individual of your choosing.
Who Will Manage Your Finances & Medical Decisions if You Can’t?
If an injury or illness leaves you unable to make decisions for yourself, someone will need to manage your finances and make medical decisions on your behalf. You can appoint a Durable Power of Attorney to make these financial decisions and a Health Care Surrogate for medical decisions. The person you select should be responsible, trustworthy, and willing to take on this responsibility.
Without a Durable Power of Attorney, a Florida court will appoint a Guardian on your behalf —and it could be a stranger.
Who Will Be Your Beneficiaries?
When planning your estate, one of the most critical questions is: whom will you name as beneficiaries? Beneficiaries can be whomever you want.
This decision is a personal one. You may have close friends you consider family but are not legally recognized as your relatives. These individuals may be named as beneficiaries when planning your estate.
How Do You Want Your Property and Assets Distributed?
Determining property and asset distribution is one of the most complex aspects of estate planning.
A Will is the only way to ensure that your property and assets are distributed per your wishes. Trusts can help eliminate probate fees. Without a will, your property and assets will be distributed as per Florida’s intestate succession laws.
Who Will be the Personal Representative of your Estate?
When planning your estate, you will need to appoint someone as Personal Representative [PR]. They will manage all of the affairs related to your estate after your death, including:
- Making all necessary notifications of death
- The probate process
- Submitting your will
- Gathering assets
- Paying your debts
- Handling taxes
- Closing the estate
In Florida, PRs may receive reasonable compensation for their work and a percentage of the estate’s value. These costs should be considered when naming your PR.
If you have someone in mind for the job, talk to them first and use this list to organize the questions to ask yourself regarding your Estate Plan. The appointment of a PR is a complicated and sometimes stressful one. The person you appoint must be ready and willing to take on these responsibilities if you want to avoid disputes and prolong the probate process.
Heidi S. Webb, Attorney at Law serves clients in Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, Port Orange, and beyond with matters of Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Small Business Law. Contact her today to schedule a free consultation. Visit her page on Facebook, or see what her clients are saying to learn more about Heidi.